Dominus illuminatio mea: the Lord is my light (from Psalm 27). Thus the motto of Oxford University. And as we prepare for Trinity Sunday we do celebrate the light of the Lord that has come to us through His revelation, the Bible. And it is through that revelation from heaven, in which Jesus Christ is the supreme knowledge and the fullness of light in the universe, we can begin to think thoughts after God. Among the glorious truths revealed we locate and we recall today the doctrine of the Trinity.
The doctrine of the Triunity of Almighty God is a divinely revealed truth over time. Saint Augustine spent much of his adulthood writing”On the Trinity” (De Trinitate). Published, at last, at around 417 A.D., the great doctor of the Church summarized the truth of the doctrine:
“There is no subject where error is more dangerous, research more laborious, and discovery more fruitful than the oneness of the Trinity(unitas Trinitatis) of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” (De Trinitate,1.3.5.).
The fullness of the doctrine is disclosed in the sublime Persom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, although the supra-human concept of three-in-one has its origin in the Ancient Near Eastern experience of God’s people, the Israelites. Some affirm the first glimmer of light of the triunity of the One God in Genesis chapter one. This is for certain: to think thoughts after God is to begin to renew the mind and heart by the Spirit of God. Such wisdom is too high. Yet such wisdom inaugurates a journey of extraordinary discover in the rest of the world. The Trinity is glorious in its implications for science, the arts, and, indeed, every facet of human endeavor. For to embrace the revelation of Almighty God in His Word is to welcome all of the joyful possibilities which that great doctrine brings. Indeed, the idea of the university is inexorably linked to the revelation of the mind of God about Himself. To believe in Him as He is presented in the Bible is to train your mind to deduce the complexities of the macro and micro worlds of God’s creation. I always think of Oxford and its thirty-eight colleges, four theological halls, and the impact of the light of God on the mind of Mankind in all of life. The very spires of that great intellectual center testify to the faith of Christians who sought to apply the doctrine of the Trinity to mathematics, physics, as well as English literature and ecclesiology.
This is a Sunday of worship to glory in the revealed mind of God to man. And to do so is to begin again with “For God so loved the World that He sent His only begotten Son…”
Almighty and everlasting God, you have given to us your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of your divine Majesty to worship the Unity: Keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see you in your one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Son and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The First Lesson
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”
Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!”
Psalm 29 Page 620, BCP
Ascribe to the LORD, you gods, *
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his Name; *
worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
The voice of the LORD is upon the waters;
the God of glory thunders; *
the LORD is upon the mighty waters.
The voice of the LORD is a powerful voice; *
the voice of the LORD is a voice of splendor.
The voice of the LORD breaks the cedar trees; *
the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon;
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, *
and Mount Hermon like a young wild ox.
The voice of the LORD splits the flames of fire;
the voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; *
the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the LORD makes the oak trees writhe *
and strips the forests bare.
And in the temple of the LORD *
all are crying, “Glory!”
The LORD sits enthroned above the flood; *
the LORD sits enthroned as King for evermore.
The LORD shall give strength to his people; *
the LORD shall give his people the blessing of peace.
So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh– for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ– if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?
“Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
This meditation and reading guide is part of a series of devotional thoughts on the lectionary readings from the Revised Common Lectionary. Believing that a spiritual program that is built around the life of Jesus Christ as He is revealed in all of the Scriptures is a Biblically faithful, Christ-centered, and Great Commission-responsive method of discipleship we support the concept of a liturgical calendar. We are not slaves to a system, but bond-slaves to Christ. Yet, even as we see Jesus following the selected readings in the synagogue in His weekly worship and observance of a cyclical or seasonal approach to formation, we seek to imitate Him. We offer these meditations and readings to encourage the lives of believers in Christ to live out the Gospel in their personal lives and in the world. The central act of personal and corporate worship of the Church, shaped by the life of Jesus through the Scriptures and prayer, remains the single greatest God-given method for building up believers and enfolding lost mankind into His Church. We will seek to publish these during the week prior the respective liturgical date in order to offer these resources to those preparing for the coming Lord’s Day.